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August 22nd, 2019

Times 27436 - a shell game?

Time taken: 10:22 but with one very careless error as I was so convinced 1 across had a double L that I forced it in without thinking about where the I needed to go. So here's everyone's chance to beat the blogger, whee!

Odd puzzle this one, with a few devices and words I'm used to seeing in Mephisto rather than in the daily. When a Z and an X appeared early on in my solving I was on the lookout for a pangram, but it is missing a few letters. I did a double take at seeing SHELL twice, clued in a different way each time.

Away we go...

Across
1 Will may have had four instances of these (9,5)
AUXILIARY VERBS - and not AUXILLARY VERBS which is what I had. Odd clue - WILL, MAY, HAVE, and HAD area all auxiliary verbs
9 Intend to be in Paris to tour energy plant (5,4)
PLANE TREE -  PLAN(intend) then ETRE(to be in French) surrounding E(energy)
10 Bend a rim around dish (5)
PILAU - U(bend), A, LIP(rim) all reversed
11 This writer's about to chop wood for people associated with PA (5)
AMISH - I'M(this writer) reversed inside ASH(wood). The Amish are found mostly in Pennsylvania and Ohio in the USA
12 One month enclosed in city leads to lewd behaviour (9)
INDECENCY - I(one) then DEC(month), ENC(enclosed) inside NY(city)
13 Finish, say, golf round (8)
EGGSHELL - EG(say), G(golf), SHELL(round of ammunition)
15 Israeli character halted round the bend (6)
DALETH - anagram of HALTED - fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet
17 Detain the latest flyer (6)
INTERN - IN(the latest), TERN(flyer)
19 Chat up drunk husband round rear of Ritz? The cheek! (8)
CHUTZPAH - anagram of CHAT,UP and H(husband) surrounding the last letter in ritZ
22 Plug new gold vein until all are bored (2,7)
AD NAUSEAM - AD(plug), N(new), AU(gold), SEAM(vein)
23 Bordeaux leaking litres, a sign something's missing (5)
CARET - the Bordeaux is a CLARET, remove L(litres)
24 Given some whitewash, being restricted without it (5)
LIMED - LIMITED(restricted) missing IT
25 Seafood from Hull is served in fine hotel (9)
SHELLFISH - SHELL(hull), then IS inside F(fine) and H(hotel)
26 Electricity bill that attracts little or no interest? (7,7)
CURRENT ACCOUNT - CURRENT(electricity), ACCOUNT(bill)

Down
1 A typical ball he tossed in order that most of us follow (14)
ALPHABETICALLY - anagram of A,TYPICAL,BALL,HE
2 Investigative job, one in Glasgow, in Times newspaper (1-6)
X-RAYING -  YIN(Scots one) inside X(times, multiplied by), RAG(newspaper). Wonder if anyone put in X-RATING
3 Shelter chief doctor of old (5)
LEECH - LEE(shelter), CH(chief)
4 Where flier’s managed to drop in relief? (8)
AIRFIELD - terrific all-in-one clue here. The wordplay is an anagram of FLIER inside AID(relief)
5 Yankee regularly reeled in one's profits (6)
YIELDS - Y(Yankee) then alternating letters in rEeLeD inside I'S(one's)
6 Anticipating men avoiding cough medicine? (9)
EXPECTANT - remove OR(men) from EXPECTORANT(cough medicine)
7 Blondin needed this money in the bank (7)
BALANCE - double definition - Blondin was a tightrope walker
8 Stop fighting that butchery he spread (4,3,7)
BURY THE HATCHET - anagram of THAT,BUTCHERY,HE
14 Ambassador dealing with foreign articles later (9)
HEREUNDER - HE(ambassador), RE(dealing with), then UN and DER are the foreign articles
16 Go along with gunmen to capture a monster (8)
CHIMAERA - CHIME(go along with), RA(gunmen) containing A
18 Bird caught in a mountain, wings clipped (7)
TINAMOU - hidden inside caughT IN A MOUntain
20 Border stitch that is initially unravelling (7)
PURLIEU - PURL stitch, then IE(that is), and the first letter of Unravelling
21 Not as busy, having this class? (6)
LESSON -  not as busy would be LESS ON
23 Officer in charge of early complaint (5)
COLIC - COL(officer), IC(in charge)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1423 by Felix

This one took me less than 11 minutes, so is relatively easy by my reckoning – I hope you found it likewise.

“I was driving a roomy furniture van full of yeast and noodles up Table Mountain, heading for Mecca, when I ran into a peasouper – damn climate…”  Anyone want to finish this?

Across
1         V rare unit, fun when deployed as aid to removals (9,3)
FURNITURE VAN – Anagram (when deployed) of [V RARE UNIT, FUN].
Major visitor attraction set for construction?  No abandoned (5)
MECCA – The construction set is MECCA{no}, with the NO omitted (abandoned).  Is meccano just as famous on the other side of the pond?  It was invented by Frank Hornby in Liverpool in 1898.
10 Prize for third daughter looking tanned (7)
BRONZED – BRONZE (prize for third place) and D{aughter}.
11  The weather, etc, recalled around S American capital (7)
CLIMATE – ETC (etc) reversed (recalled) and surrounding (around) LIMA (S American capital)
12 Raising agent from Axis, not the West (5)
YEAST – Y (one of the axes on a graph) and EAST (not the west).
14 Peer up, so distraught about a thick fog (9)
PEASOUPER – Anagram (distraught) of [PEER UP, SO].  London was famous for its PEASOUPER fogs, sometimes called LONDON PARTICULARS, which has resulted in pea soup now being called London Particular in some parts of the City.
18 Load deducted?  Some of it anthing but! (5)
ADDED – Hidden in {lo}AD DED{ucted}.  The whole clue gives the definition.
20  Fools taken in at Chinese restaurant? (7)
NOODLES – NOODLES may be taken in (eaten) in a Chinese restaurant, and can mean ‘fools’, so this is a kind of cryptic double definition.
21  Single short song, where you might get 10 (7)
SOLARIA – SOL{e} (single, short – missing last letter) and ARIA (song).  SOLARIA is the plural noun of SOLARIUM, where one might get BRONZED – the answer to the 10 a clue which is referenced here.  Note for newbies – in Times QCs, as a general rule, numbers written as numbers (i.e. 10 rather than ten) are references to other clues rather than the number itself, more often than not in my limited experience.
23  Call up the day before about fair (5)
EVOKE – EVE (the day before) containing (about) OK (fair).
24  Heavy bouncer coming from BMA social? (8,4)
MEDICINE BALL – BMA is the British Medical Association, so one of their social events might well be called the MEDICINE BALL.  A MEDICINE BALL is a weighted ball used in rehabilitation and sports exercise.

Down
2  One very quietly grabbed by relative departs, released (9)
UNCLIPPED – I (one) and PP (very quietly) inside (grabbed by) UNCLE (relative) and finally D{eparts}.
3  A king, once more climbing, falls here (7)
NIAGARA – A (a) R (king – Rex) and AGAIN (once more) all reversed (climbing) to give the site of the famous falls.
4 Feature in SA that might be occasional? (5,8)
TABLE MOUNTAIN – The well-known geographical feature near Capetown, which could be referring to an occasional table.
5  Little jumper: for yours truly ample (5)
ROOMY – ROO (baby kangaroo, hence little jumper) and MY (for yours truly).  Little bounder might be a more accurate description of a Roo, but might have led to a less effective misdirection.
That is verse – and one last letter (3)
VIZ – V{erse} and I (one) and Z (last letter).  As well as being the name of a popular English comic magazine, VIZ can mean ‘namely’ or ‘that is’ in written English.
7  Awfully untidy state of dresser?  Hardly! (6)
NUDITY – Anagram (awfully) of [UNTIDY].  NUDITY is the undressed state of dresser, hence the negative definition.
8  Ultimate in tasteless ridicule, overall (5)
SMOCK –  S (ultimate letter in {tasteles)S and MOCK (ridicule), to give the name of the long shirt-like garment worn to protect other apparel, like an overall.
13  March over to see this clot? (5,4)
APRIL FOOL – Cryptic definition.
15  Demonstrate right book shows a bit of wisdom (7)
PROVERB – PROVE (demonstrate) and R{ight} and B{ook}.
16  Carriage German mayor ordered originally turned up (6)
HANSOM – HANS (a German) and M{ayor} and O{rdered} (both ‘originally’ i.e. first letter) turned up (reversed).  A HANSOM cab was a two-wheeled carriage pulled by a horse and used as a taxi.
17  Like London gardens, in need of levelling (5)
ASKEW – AS (like) and KEW (famous gardens in London).
19  Physicist emerging from motorcar I drove northward (5)
DIRAC – reverse hidden (emerging northward) in {motor}CAR I D{rove}.  Paul Dirac was a famous English theoretical physicist.
22  Was leading light (3)
LED – Double definition, the second referring to the Light-Emitting Diode (LED).

Times 27,437: Double Def Con One

I didn't enjoy this puzzle nearly as much as it deserved due to coming to it all steamed up from Abettergate in the QC, but it was really rather good, with lots of very assured and charismatic cluing from a clearly practised setter - thank you very much sir (or madam)! Amazingly given the presence of 18ac and 3dn it is far from a pangram. missing both G and V, but everything else you could want from a Friday crossword was present and correct. I particularly liked the plain-living females at 16dn and the creative anagrinds of 25 and 27ac. Also enjoyed the answer to 12dn - I'll be in Edinburgh for my birthday (and official induction into middle age) on October 9th, if any of you happen to be around...

1 No longer inwent out? (5)
DATED - clever double def, where the first means "no longer in fashion", the the second "saw each other romantically".

4 Case in college covered, keep running off copies for university (9)
PRINCETON - covering C{olleg}E, PRINT ON [keep running off copies]

9 Seed initially knocked into gravy, someone out to lunch? (6,3)
MONKEY NUT - K{nocked} into MONEY [gravy], plus NUT [someone out to lunch?]

10 Accessory committed crime (5)
STOLE - another clever double def

11 Flat not having received letter? (13)
CHARACTERLESS - yet another double deffy clue, playing on letter = character

14 Nothing to add to it, bet not opening till (4)
UNTO - adding O [nothing] to it, {p}UNT [bet "not opening"]

15 Security pass on the side (10)
COLLATERAL - COL LATERAL [pass | on the side]. My FOI.

18 Music maker hit on lover (7-3)
SQUEEZE-BOX - BOX [hit] on SQUEEZE [lover]

19 American behind subject of joke (4)
BUTT - another double def! Behind here = derriere.

21 Guts shown by that woman quaffing drink in party game (4,3,6)
SPIN THE BOTTLE - BOTTLE [guts] shown by SHE [that woman] "quaffing" PINT [drink]

24 A thinker showing me the way? (5)
AHEAD - A HEAD is a thinker, or at least what you think with. LOI, because I didn't quite "get" it...

25 After pranging car, refuse cover again (9)
RESURFACE - (CAR REFUSE*) ["after pranging"]. Quite a creative anagrind!

27 Most Irish jigs unreliable (3-2-4)
HIT-OR-MISS - (MOST IRISH*) ["jigs"]. And again!

28 Cereal ending on blouse, I'm sorry about that! (5)
WHEAT - {blous}E, with WHAT? ["I'm sorry?"] about that

DOWN
1 Unexpectedly produces fences in the morning for building protection (4,6)
DAMP COURSE - (PRODUCES*) ["unexpectedly"] "fences" AM [in the morning]

2 Money box, perhaps (3)
TIN - whaddya know, another (very good) double def

3 Club player, runner given the bird (6)
DEEJAY - DEE [runner, because a river runs] given JAY [(the) bird]

4 Bag to put in glass for Italian bread (9)
PANETTONE - NET TO [bag | to] "put in" PANE [glass]. Ashamed to admit it took me a while to get all the N's and T's in the right places.

5 Bury every other part of pig, not bear (5)
INTER - {p}I{g} N{o}T {b}E{a}R

6 Recording put in class (8)
CASSETTE - SET [put] in CASTE [class]

7 Steal diamonds, perhaps — is that smart? (7,4)
TROUSER SUIT - TROUSER [steal] + SUIT [diamonds, perhaps]

8 Born and died in poverty (4)
NEED - NEE [born] + D [died]

12 A day in tears, desperate to reach peak in Scotland (7,4)
ARTHUR'S SEAT - A + THURS [day] in (TEARS*) ["desperate"]

13 Tablets help cut to be put right — good luck! (3,3,4)
ALL THE BEST - (TABLETS HEL{p}*) ["to be put right"]

16 Plain-living females wrapping old cape in tissue? (9)
LIONESSES - O NESS [old | cape] wrapped in LIES [tissue?]. Females who live on the plains.

17 Fox let hair down further? (8)
BEWILDER - double def with BE WILDER [let hair down further]

20 Appropriate, top walls in gold (6)
BORROW - BROW [top] "walls in" OR [gold]

22 Trunks, rarely twisting, on being removed from the bottom (5)
TORSI - take TORSION [twisting] and subtract ON from the bottom for this rare alternative to TORSOS.

23 Party hosted by club, a shindig (4)
BASH - hidden in {clu}B A SH{indig}

26 Wizard, one in a suit (3)
ACE - Ambassador, with these double defs you are really spoiling us!